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jameshb65

F11 rear bulb flickering

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Hi, new to the forum!

Wondered if someone might be able to help with what is probably a silly question - was following wife home last night and the rear left tailight (i.e. the one that is permanently on when lights are on) was flickering. I went to have a look at it to get the bulb type to order but it wasn't obvious how to access it - there are a couple of torx nuts under the 'hatch' with breakdown equipment, but there is also what looks to be an access point on the side of tailgate by the light itself. Couldn't find anything on youtube or forums.

Also, is this likely to be a single bulb or is it an LED unit? My wife did get the car cleaned a couple of days ago so I wonder if perhaps some moisture got in...is it possible that the bulb will fix itself?

Many thanks in advance - any help/guidance much appreciated.

James

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33 minutes ago, jameshb65 said:

Hi, new to the forum!

Wondered if someone might be able to help with what is probably a silly question - was following wife home last night and the rear left tailight (i.e. the one that is permanently on when lights are on) was flickering. I went to have a look at it to get the bulb type to order but it wasn't obvious how to access it - there are a couple of torx nuts under the 'hatch' with breakdown equipment, but there is also what looks to be an access point on the side of tailgate by the light itself. Couldn't find anything on youtube or forums.

Also, is this likely to be a single bulb or is it an LED unit? My wife did get the car cleaned a couple of days ago so I wonder if perhaps some moisture got in...is it possible that the bulb will fix itself?

Many thanks in advance - any help/guidance much appreciated.

James

 

Hi James and welcome to the forum.

 

The rear tail light on the F11s are LED so I can only assume that this is water related. I would remove the light from the car and check and clean the electrical connection and make sure it is all very dry. There are 2 lights on each side, on the tailgate and on the wing, are they both flickering or just one of them?

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As Matthew says, these are sealed units so other than checking all the electrical connections there isn't too much you can do. Worth taking off the internal trim panels and checking all the earths  as there are a few points in each corner where a number of earths are connected to the bodywork.

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52 minutes ago, jameshb65 said:

Thanks Matthew - it looks like just one light, and in the tailgate rather than the wing (although I couldn't actually work out how to access either!). I had an E61 previously and it was easy to get to the bulbs...

 

On the F11 only the reverse and fog lights are traditional bulbs. Removal instructions here: https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/f11-520d-tou/repair-manuals/63-lights/63-21-rear-light-cluster/D8JThl22

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12 hours ago, nashdm2 said:

Aha, don't get smart with me sshooie!!! Good point, well made!!! Or, perhaps she was pressing the brake pedal on the left hand side of the pedal?

 

Mibbies she was pressing the left hand side of the brake pedal instead of the clutch pedal....would explain the flickering......

 

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Thanks all. Wife took it into Halfords this morning but they don't do LEDs. He said no sign of loose electrical connections so 'LEDs must have blown' and it needs to go to BMW - I am guessing that can't be right if they were flickering?

Any ideas how much BMW might charge to fix it?

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If it is a fault in the light cluster then the whole unit needs replacing, this is all the LED bulbs, the housing and the lens cover.  You cannot buy spare LED bulbs.  But a sign of a failing LED can be flickering.  It may also be a damaged wire somewhere.

 

An auto electrician (not Halfords or Kwik fit) may be your next best port of call or go to BMW for them to check it over.  The cost to fit a new lamp will not be much but the lamp unit itself will be pricey, its not listing a price on a BMW parts website I have.

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5 hours ago, jameshb65 said:

Thanks all. Wife took it into Halfords this morning but they don't do LEDs. He said no sign of loose electrical connections so 'LEDs must have blown' and it needs to go to BMW - I am guessing that can't be right if they were flickering?

Any ideas how much BMW might charge to fix it?

As Andrew said it will need the light unit replacing. These are generally reliable so I wouldn’t have s problem buying a used one from EBay. 

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39 minutes ago, Matthew Ashton said:

These are generally reliable so I wouldn’t have s problem buying a used one from EBay. 

 

Quick looky see on ebay, no used ones but a new F11 light is £121

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-F11-5-SERIES-Rear-Lamp-BACK-Light-NEW-TAIL-LENS-CLUSTER-N-S-PASSENGER-SIDE-/301129788557?hash=item461cbbec8d:g:6UUAAOxy039TKzgB

 

OEM too.

 

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5 minutes ago, jameshb65 said:

Understood - and thanks for the link.

 

You are welcome but just before you go and get one from eBay, there is part of me thinks that you should get it confirmed as a light unit failure as £120 is a bit risky if that doesn't cure it, but you could be a bit naughty and send it back.....

 

But BMW would charge nearly that to confirm that it is a faulty unit, if it is faulty.

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3 hours ago, 535i Andrew said:

 

You are welcome but just before you go and get one from eBay, there is part of me thinks that you should get it confirmed as a light unit failure as £120 is a bit risky if that doesn't cure it, but you could be a bit naughty and send it back.....

 

But BMW would charge nearly that to confirm that it is a faulty unit, if it is faulty.

 

Also just check the part number before you go that route as the taillight changed post LCI in late 2012. 

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Hello, I've also got a flickering rear light in the tailgate - offside this time. I noticed when I unlocked the car and the lights come on. I wondered if this could be connected to the tailgate wiring loom that flexes as it goes into the body via the top hinges. There seem to be some problems with this loom as the car gets older (mine has 143k and is a 2010). Does anyone have any experence of this loom and would it affect the rear light cluster?

Update - I checked the ther lights in this cluster (reversing, brake, fog) with Mrs B in the driver's seat and only the side/brake flickers so its suggests its just this LED unit/Bulb. Can this be changed?

Further update - the LED element is not replaceable so its a whole new unit. BMW dealer says £198, best price £178. Managed to get exact same part (Valeo, OEM) from Euro Car Parts for £106 including a special offer discount. Now fitted and all working again.

Edited by Blackfriar
updated info

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On 12/27/2017 at 10:37 AM, Blackfriar said:

Hello, I've also got a flickering rear light in the tailgate - offside this time. I noticed when I unlocked the car and the lights come on. I wondered if this could be connected to the tailgate wiring loom that flexes as it goes into the body via the top hinges. There seem to be some problems with this loom as the car gets older (mine has 143k and is a 2010). Does anyone have any experence of this loom and would it affect the rear light cluster?

Update - I checked the ther lights in this cluster (reversing, brake, fog) with Mrs B in the driver's seat and only the side/brake flickers so its suggests its just this LED unit/Bulb. Can this be changed?

Further update - the LED element is not replaceable so its a whole new unit. BMW dealer says £198, best price £178. Managed to get exact same part (Valeo, OEM) from Euro Car Parts for £106 including a special offer discount. Now fitted and all working again.

 

Did you see any difference on right and left side after changing to Valeo light? I am about to order the same (for the same flickering issue) and the Valeo option is less than half price (at least here in Norway; 130€ vs 290€ for BMW original).

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